This Founder Is Bringing More Accessibility To Online Shopping
Selfmade, our 10-week highly-interactive virtual business course for women, has brought together thousands of women from all sorts of backgrounds with the goal to launch their big idea. Thanks to our partnership with Office Depot OfficeMax, we are telling stories of Selfmade founders on their journey to startupdom. At just 21 years old, Peri R. Finkelstein is determined to change the online shopping world to be more inclusive and cater to the needs of all people. Learn how Selfmade helped her gain the confidence to be an entrepreneur and ask for help when and where she needs it.
B + C: What motivated you to start Access Shopper? What problem are you trying to solve for your customers?
Peri: My life goal has always been to become as independent as possible. Born with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy, my physical limitations inherently cap the achievable independence level to the minimum. Having said that, I still strive to change the available accessibility options when I find that they are not inclusive and do not truly meet my needs, and the needs of others like myself.
While I cannot speak for other people with disabilities, I firmly believe that the world in relation to accessibility being the norm needs to up its game. The idea for Access Shopper came to me during the pandemic, where I was literally shopping exclusively online. I became aware of a gap in the market for digital accessibility and I knew that I could be the one to fix that issue. While I cannot give too much away, I can tell you that this idea will solve the issue. I am still looking for investors for this project.
B + C: How has the company evolved since your initial "aha" moment?
Peri: Selfmade has given me the confidence to see my full potential, and it truly has been an evolution for myself personally, as I never before thought it was possible. While I am still in the infant stages of my company, I am learning how to navigate the process.
B + C: What startup challenges have you faced along the way?
Peri: Funding is an issue that I am facing.
B + C: What strategies are helping you address the funding issue?
Peri: I am thinking out of the box and approaching fellow university students for talent in the various fields that I will need help with.
B + C: What would you say are your top successes so far?
Peri: I successfully created a logo, purchased a domain for my website, made contact with professors in local universities and presented an 'elevator pitch' for my idea that went over quite well.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
Peri: With the help of Selfmade, I realized that it is possible to learn the steps on how one can become an entrepreneur, even at the age of 21.
B + C: Who and what inspires you?
Peri: As the Director of Marketing for Team Peri, a collective group of individuals who fundraise for the non-profit, Chai Lifeline, I am always inspired by the individuals who give both their time and money to assist Team Peri in our fundraising efforts. I also am a podcaster, Team Peri Step Out of Line, and I have produced, created, co-hosted and edited over 60 published interviews with celebrities, entrepreneurs, and remarkable individuals who strive to change the world. These people, who I now call my friends, have made me realize that we all have relatable stories and the world is truly an extraordinary place when you have people come together.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Peri: Age and lack of experience is irrelevant. It's what you can bring to the table that matters. Always ask and receive help when you need it, and always do the same for others.
B + C: What's next for Access Shopper?
Peri: Move forward with the idea, create a business plan, and keep on learning from those who have done this already.
B + C: What has receiving the Office Depot OfficeMax scholarship to Selfmade done to help you grow your business?
Peri: It provided me with supplies and will be helpful in the future when I grow my business and need business cards printed, and iPad, etc.
B + C: How have Office Depot OfficeMax services/products helped you accomplish more in your business?
Peri: It has given me the chance to be up-to-date with the technology that I will need to move forward.
When you're an entrepreneur, business *is* personal. Let Office Depot OfficeMax help you turn your big idea into a reality with a suite of business services to help you accomplish more - from signs, posters & banners to get your business noticed to marketing materials to bring your brand vision to life. Learn more at Office Depot's Selfmade page.